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Recognizing Codependency as the First Step Toward Treatment

Dillon McClernon

Authored by Dillon McClernon

On Beginning a Successful Drug Abuse Treatment Program

For those suffering from codependency, recognizing the symptoms can be the first step towards drug abuse treatment.

Codependency is often a byproduct of long-term exposure to relationships where addiction exists. The driving force of codependency manifests as an emotional, mental, and even physical dependence upon another person. Therefore, an individual suffering with codependency has a warped or diluted sense of self, which enables her or him to experience imbalance or false perceptions in relationships with others.

However, as with other forms of dependency and addiction, there are pathways to recovery from codependency. So, the first step in helping a patient is recognizing codependency symptoms.

How to Recognize Codependency Symptoms

Individuals who need help for codependency may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Compromising of their own beliefs, values, and pursuits to please others
  • Difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy relationships
  • Disproportionate sense of duty and responsibility toward others
  • Fear of abandonment (will typically remain in unhealthy emotional or physical relationships)
  • Easily offended or disheartened if recognition is not demonstrated for good deeds or acts
  • Difficulty establishing boundaries and often feel guilty when doing so
  • Attempt to control people and situations
  • Struggle with communication and identifying/expressing feelings
  • Often exhibit anger, dishonesty, and lack of empathy toward others
  • Can display martyr tendencies, for example; unable to take accountability; having a sense of always being selfless
  • Project insecurities and character defects onto others
  • Can’t accept help easily or without feelings of guilt or discomfort
  • Will withhold their own feelings, opinions, and intentions if they feel they are in opposition with others or will be received with disapproval

Treating codependency, as with other forms of addiction, incorporates several different drug abuse treatment modalities. So, a patient seeking help for codependency can enter a treatment program, attend Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) meetings, participate in individual or group therapy, or explore other options.

During treatment for codependency, practices in addressing symptoms may include:

  • Identification of self-effacing and harmful codependent behaviors
  • Examination of childhood, family history, and relationships
  • Education and solutions that encourage detachment and relinquishment of people pleasing and other unhealthy dependency tendencies
  • Integration of new positive behaviors that encourage self-preservation, self-confidence, self-esteem, and boundary setting (among others)

As with any form of treatment, success in overcoming codependency will be incumbent upon an individual’s willingness and commitment to recovery.

So, if you have a patient exhibiting codependency issues and would like more information on drug abuse treatment options, contact Recovery Centers of America at 1-800-RECOVERY.

Authored by

Dillon McClernon

Dillon McClernon

Dillon currently serves as the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at RCA. After his tenure as Chief Communications Officer and senior advisor to RCA, he opted for a full-time position at RCA where he could build a new team linking sales and marketing to directly impact RCA’s mission of saving 1 million lives.


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